The separation of church and state was and continues to be a heated issue; however, these days, it seems some people are more focused on the separation of church and athletic events. It’s obvious there are some people who have an extremely negative reaction towards any outward display of religious belief. Constitutional rights of freedom of religion and speech mean wearing a cross, carrying a Bible, or celebrating a winning touchdown with a “thank you” to God is nothing short of allowable; however, it’s not always acceptable in the eyes of many.
Religion and Sports; Can They Mesh?
Former Broncos and current New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is one of the few professional athletes that openly shows his religious appreciation on the field. Despite being an accomplished athlete, Tebow is probably most famous (or infamous to some) for his outward display of religion, usually in the form of praying before and after games, as well as thanking God when a touchdown is scored or a game is won. His actions have become known simply as “Tebowing,” and anywhere Tebow is mentioned in media or print, the words religion, Jesus, or God are likely to follow. While his appreciation and love of God has gained plenty of fans, it’s also brought about numerous detractors.
“There are people who really can’t stand him, because they can’t stand all the Christian worship on the field. It’s really interesting,” explained Dr. Kenneth Siegel, a cosmetic dentist practicing in Philadelphia, PA.
Some would say that Tebow’s actions are a bit much; as his excessive thanking of God and prayer during the game can possible create barriers between fans and players. But to put limitations on such actions would be silly. Do we restrict the amount of people who wear crosses or other religious symbols? What about those who openly pray throughout the day. Are these people also crossing boundaries and creating a less than ideal environment? Answers will vary, but we all have the freedom to express our religion, even if others don’t like it.
Taking It Down A Notch
While some despise all outwardly religious actions and dislike Tebow because of it; others simply believe it doesn’t belong on the football field. According to Dr. Siegel, many of his patients dislike Tebow because he takes the focus off the game.
“They say, it’s one thing for you to have your personal feelings about God; but they don’t want to see it on the football field,” he said. “They think he makes too much of it.”
Though Tebow has become most known for his religious antics; he’s not the only outwardly religious player on the field. Nearly every Sunday during football season, one of the first words to leave an athlete’s mouth after a win are “I want to thank God…”
In the end, athletes aren’t the only ones to praise a higher being; just watch an awards show for actors or musicians. The Grammy’s and Country Music Awards are full of ‘thank Gods’ and ‘thank the Lords,’ – so what gives? What makes Tebow’s actions so widely focused-on in the media, when other players are doing just as he does?
No matter where you choose to glorify God; the fact is that we all – athlete or not – should be free to express our religious beliefs and ideas however we want; whether it’s by simple, silent prayer or by striking the famous “Tebowing” pose.
Dental Excellence of Blue Bell
706 Dekalb Pike
Blue Bell, PA 19422-1214